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Is Your Child Strong Enough?

Strong and Kind Children

Congratulations to the six brand new junior black belts and the 18 other advanced junior black belts that earned their second, third and even fourth level belts this past weekend at the day long “Black Belt Camp”. Joining them for three hours of the camp were six advanced junior black belts for the “Defend Your Black Belt” portion of the event. Your dedication and hard work, and even more, the dedication and hard work of your parents was honored and recognized in the ending ceremony that evening.

At the ceremony I reflected with the parents, and many relatives and guests, why we were there and why we do this crazy thing called karate for so long. I said after many years working closely with parents and educators one thing has really struck me more and more with time – We need to develop much STRONGER kids!

And, don’t mean physically stronger. The world is changing. And, the rate of change is increasing rapidly. Our children are much different than we were at their age. They are under more stress and anxiety. But on the flip side, mainly due to technology and parents unknowing over protecting them, they are getting everything too quick and too easy. We come to their rescue and do everything for them including solving their problems and doing the work they should do. We shield them from all the good stressed they need to be success and happy adults. And who can blame us. We want the best for our children. But listen to and remember this “You want your child to live a good life, but not an easy life!”

One quote really sticks out in my mind concerning this subject: “If the first half of your life is easy than the second half will be hard. But if the first half of your life is hard, the second half will be easy.”

Two recent changes in today’s children illustrate this point.

First, did you know that many teens and even young adults in their 20’s do not want to get their driver’s license or drive! Remember when we could not wait to get this freedom? Teens today do not want to drive for two reasons: It is hard and stressful, and they already have their parents driving them around anywhere they want.

The second change could be titled “Where are all the paperboys?” Remember when the newspaper was delivered by young boys wanting to work and earn money? We have become so afraid our children will be abducted. Kids today are not playing outside anymore. Many stay inside their homes or backyards. Parents have to arrange “play dates” with other moms to bring children together outside of school. Here is probably one of the most eye-opening trends. Remember when teens used to hang out in the malls? They do not anymore. Instead the way teen socialize is in their bedrooms on their smartphones? Can you imagine the impact this has on a child’s social skills?

So back to the black belt camp ceremony. I told the parents, we (both the dojo and them as parents) are on a mission. We need to develop stronger kids. They need to be able to do hard things and endure setbacks. They need to learn to never give up and never be afraid to try something new or hard. They need to experience the good stresses of fear, boredom, hardship and failure daily. This is the only way we can have kids that are ready to succeed in today’s new world.

For stronger kids! Sensei

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